Pennsylvania separates fatal vehicle accidents into two charges: vehicular manslaughter and vehicular homicide. Vehicular manslaughter corresponds to fatalities that happened because of driver negligence or recklessness, while vehicular homicide applies to vehicle fatalities caused by driver intoxication.
In either case, a conviction could result in you losing your license, facing steep fines, and even jail time. A Philadelphia, PA vehicular homicide defense lawyer can help mitigate some of the worst effects by cross-examining witnesses, challenging evidence, and introducing reasonable doubt. Get started now with our criminal defense law firm, the Law Offices of M.J. Snyder, LLC.
Understanding Vehicular Manslaughter and Vehicular Homicide
Under Pennsylvania state law, both charges of vehicular manslaughter and vehicular homicide punish drivers for causing the death of another person through negligence or recklessness. Where these charges differ is in the simultaneous violation of another law – in this case, driving under the influence.
One of the best ways to remember this is to note that vehicular manslaughter is also referred to as homicide by vehicle, and vehicular homicide is also known as homicide by vehicle while driving under the influence. While PA’s legal limit for alcohol impairment is set at a blood alcohol concentration of 0.08, it’s important to note that you can still be charged under this limit if it’s clear you’re still impaired.
Your BAC results can also be used to modify your charges and adjust the potential penalties you might face down the line. Since DUI violation is an inherent component of a vehicular homicide charge, the prosecution must be able to prove beyond a reasonable doubt that the primary factor leading to the accident was your impairment. If this is proven to not be the case, or if sufficient reasonable doubt is introduced, you might be acquitted on this charge.
For a free legal consultation with a vehicular homicide lawyer serving Philadelphia, call 215.515.3360
What Are Some of the Penalties for a Vehicular Homicide Conviction?
Homicide by vehicle while under the influence is a second-degree felony and, as such, it carries with it several serious legal penalties. If convicted on this charge, you could be facing years in prison – regardless of whether this is your first charge or not.
A second-degree felony comes just under first-degree felonies in terms of severity, and at sentencing, you could be facing up to ten years in prison and a fine of no more than $25,000.
You could also have your license suspended for as long as three years, and your charge could be compounded if your accident happened in a work zone.
It’s also important to note that if you have past DUI convictions on your record at the time of this latest charge, you could face the more serious first-degree felony.
Lastly, you should keep in mind that charges can add on top of one another, especially in situations where multiple people died in the crash. For example, if two people died in the accident, you could be facing 20 years of jail time, along with the other legal sanctions involved.
Philadelphia Vehicular Homicide Lawyer 215.515.3360
What Are Some Lesser-Known Penalties?
Along with the more immediate threats of losing your freedom, facing stiff fines, and losing your license, you could face a variety of other sanctions and penalties following your vehicular homicide conviction. These include things like:
- Losing your ability to vote while still serving your sentence
- Curtailing of your rights to travel internationally
- Losing your right to carry a firearm
- Disqualification from holding certain licenses
- The threat of deportation if not a citizen
- Difficulty securing employment or housing in the future
Along with these numerous penalties and sanctions, you’ll be forced to carry with you the social stigma of having a felony conviction. Many of these effects could last with you for years to come, long after your case was resolved, and even after possible jail time.
It’s for this reason that a vehicular homicide defense lawyer will do all they can to either get your charges dropped before going to court or fight for acquittal should the matter go to court.
How Does Our Philadelphia, PA Vehicular Homicide Defense Lawyer Work for You?
Your attorney will have a variety of strategies at their disposal when it comes to proving your innocence and/or introducing reasonable doubt in your case. First, the lawyer will have access to the police report, which they’ll be able to scrutinize for inconsistencies or violations of your rights.
The attorney will have access to evidence to be used against you, which will give them opportunities to poke holes in the prosecution’s claims. They can also cross-examine witnesses and will work toward proving that intoxication was not the primary factor when in your crash.
Why Choose the Law Offices of M.J. Snyder, LLC?
Here at the Law Offices of M.J. Snyder, LLC, we have three main differentiators that set us apart from other firms. The first is our track record of success that’s resulted in thousands of positive outcomes. Second, we waste no time in seeking justice on your behalf. Lastly, we offer actionable information and helpful legal counsel.
We offer one-on-one consultations that give you the chance to tell your story and get an evaluation of the options you have available. Every case is unique, and we keep that in mind while crafting a personalized approach that meets your particular needs.
This is bound to be a highly charged and difficult moment in your life, and we know how much of a toll that that can take on a person. We aim to ease some of this strain by working toward a favorable outcome so that you can rebuild your life and start to get things back on track.
Contact Us Today and Get a Free Consultation Regarding Your Philadelphia County Case
If you’re unsure where to start with your vehicular homicide legal defense, allow us to help. Get your consultation today with a firm that understands what you’re going through and knows what it takes to fight – and win.